Lasse Hallstrom's The Hundred Foot Journey, one of his more diverting and enjoyable films since The Shipping News sent his career spiraling down a strange Nicholas Sparks-y hole. In the film, Helen Mirren's Madame Mallory, proprietress of a fine-dining Michelin-star restaurant in the French countryside, sees her bubble punctured by the arrival of an Indian family whose patriarch stubbornly establishes a competing restaurant directly across the road.

It's the kind of movie you describe to friends as "cute" or "charming." It's a bit slow-going at first, and Mirren's French accent is forgivable (but something that needs forgiving), and the titular metaphor is leaned on pretty heavily. I was made to recall that Simpsons episode where the boys portentously crossed the town line into Shelbyville while in the background kids heedlessly ran back and forth over the insignificant line with impunity. But when it comes to delivering a pleasant movie experience with a little sentiment, a few laughs, and a good number of pretty glamour shots of delicious-looking food, The Hundred Foot Journey is the best film you will wait to watch on HBO later this year some time.

On the subject of food porn, however, a note: the French cuisine of Madame Mallory's restaurant is given much loving attention, from the roasted squab to the boeuf bourguignon to so many fawned-over closeups of béchamel I started to make notes about looking up possible filmmaking grants from the French Sauce Council (none as far as I can tell). What I could have used a good bit more of were glamour shots of the indian cuisine. Two to three more closeups on simmering butter chicken. Another few deep-focus glances at curry powder slowly incorporating into a sauce. Something to balance the ledger and get the audience salivating for more than hollandaise. 

Ultimately, this shortfall of Indian food dings The Hundred Foot Journey in that a movie like this only exists to: (a) give Helen Mirren one hundred scenes where she stars resentfully, then pensively, then curiously through gauzy window curtains at the restaurant across the street, (b) give Helen Mirren a scene where she coquettishly enters a room, out of sight of the camera, and the room illuminates with the radiant beauty of the world's most alluring sexagenarian, and (c) sate the audience's appetite for shots of French and Indian cuisine. It leaves the film with a disappointing 2.5/3 when it easily could have nabbed a perfect score.

A perfect 3/3 might have crowned The Hundred Foot Journey as the champion of 2014 cinema's great food-porn rankings. As it is, the year's best food-related offerings on film stand as such:

The 2014 Cinematic Food-Porn Rankings (To Date)

1. Chef: Apologies to The Hundred Foot Journey, but while your hollandaise is really cute, you do not feature meaty slabs of brisket and fat Cuban sandwiches served by a surprisingly charming Jon Favreau.

2. The Hundred Foot Journey: Curry deficits aside, there are some really scrumptious-looking dishes on display here. They even manage to make molecular gastronomy seem tasty.

3. Boyhood: Any film that spends significant time in Austin is going to have a leg up on the food-based competition. In this case, a late-night queso binge puts Austin on great display.

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel: Any film that features this many shots of fussily-put-together little pastel pastry creations deserves a high placement among the year's best food porn.

5. Tammy: The means Tammy employs to get her hands on a sack full of fast-food apple pies is not the more laudable, nor the most appetizing, really. But: a sack full of apple-pies. 

6. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me: This lively, unexpectedly poignant look at what we now know were some of the latter days of Stritch's extraordinary life includes a bit on Stritch's daily ritual of consuming Bay's english muffins, which were a family tradition for Stritch, who had married into the Bay's english muffin dynasty.

7. Godzilla: Yummy nuclear weapons give MUTO energy to play!

8. The One I Love: This charming, surprising relationship dramady actually features a turn of plot wherein the fulcrum is a pan of frying bacon. More films should try this. This would have gotten me to see Trans4mers.

9. Labor Day: Ideally, the warm-light-infused scenes of Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin seductively making a peach pie in the sweltering late-summer heat would have been the sexy hook that brought all the boys (and girls) to Jason Reitman's yard. Too bad the whole thing comes across as super gross and unsanitary. 

5,498. Snowpiercer. Protein bars. That's basically it. Those black, gelatinous, brick-shaped pieces of sustenance that ultimately gave new meaning to the axiom that nobody wants to see how the sausage gets made.